chocolate délice

Raymond Blanc

This is a truly delicious dessert with very little added sugar, giving you a great chocolate experience. You need the richness of a good-quality 70% chocolate; I wouldn’t advise using anything lower than this as the dessert will become too sweet. This can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge.

serves 6 people

for the crumble base
35g unsalted butter, cold
35g demerara sugar
30g flour
1½ tsp cocoa powder

for the chocolate cream
1 medium free-range or organic egg
90ml whipping cream
150ml full fat milk
155g 70% good quality dark chocolate, chopped into 2cm pieces

for the caramel hazelnuts
200g whole hazelnuts, skin on
50g caster sugar
For the butterscotch sauce
90g whipping cream
90g caster sugar
5g fresh ginger, finely grated

01 Heat the oven to 170C (190C non-fan). Line a loose-bottomed 16cm square tin with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix 1 small pinch of salt, plus all ingredients for the base together and, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the crumble mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

02 Sprinkle the crumble evenly into the tin and press down lightly. Bake it in the heated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

03 In a separate bowl, crack the egg and lightly whisk. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the cream and milk to the boil. Pour onto the beaten egg and whisk. It’s important that the cream and milk are boiling as you add it to the beaten eggs, as this will partially cook them, making it safe to eat, and will also help to set the dessert as it cools.

04 While the mixture is still hot, add the chocolate and stir gently until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly and begin to thicken, then pour into the mould on top of the crumble base and leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

05 Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C (200C non-fan). Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Leave to cool, then wrap tightly in a cloth and rub them together to remove the skins. Pick out the hazelnuts.

06 In a medium pan on a medium heat, add the sugar to 1½ tbsp water. Let the water absorb the sugar to lessen the risk of crystallisation. Bring the sugar to a dark caramel, but don’t take it too far.

07 Add the hazelnuts and a pinch of sea salt to the caramel, then mix them in with a spoon until they are completely coated. Put them on a greased tray to cool for 1 hour. When they are cold and solid, break them into individual nuts and set aside or store in an air-tight container in a cool place.

08 For the butterscotch, bring the whipping cream to the boil. In a separate large saucepan, add the sugar to 1½ tbsp water. Again, let the water absorb the sugar. Bring the sugar to an amber caramel.

09 Add the grated ginger, immediately followed by the hot cream. It will steam and bubble up. Stir well, and bring back to the boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly, so it coats the back of a spoon. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.

10 Carefully remove the cooled délice and decorate with the hazelnuts and butterscotch sauce.